Central Massachusetts is known for its apple orchards. Famous orchardist, Johnny Appleseed aka John Chapman was born in nearby Leominster in 1774. In late September when the days are warm and the nights are cool, apples are ready for harvesting to eat and for the cider press. I love going for a ride to a local orchard to get some apples and cider and also do a little antiquing as well.
Several years ago we purchased some boiled cider syrup and were amazed at the flavor and color. In 19th century New England, boiling cider down in order to preserve it was a necessity and seems to have lost favor to today’s hard cider making, but we’d love to see it come back in to use. It is so very simple to do and it keeps almost indefinitely in the fridge if it doesn’t get used up! Give as gifts to foodies, make BBQ sauce, glaze a ham, make apple granola with it instead of honey, drizzle on apple pancakes, jazz up some caramel apple bread pudding. It’s natural, sweet and a lovely color.
The process is so simple. Boil one gallon of fresh apple cider down to two cups. Yes. It is that easy.
Use a non reactive pan (stainless steel or enameled pan), a wooden or stainless spoon and a two cup glass measuring cup.
Do not boil on a high temperature. You don’t want this to scorch. Remove any scum that might bubble up to the surface.
Keep a very careful eye on it when it reaches the 3 cup measure and the check volume every 10 minutes or so until it reduces to 2 cups.
Pour the 2 cups into a canning jar or flat bottles that are squeaky clean and fresh and hot from the dishwasher. Save your bottles and caps from maple syrup, they’re great for boiled cider syrup. Store tightly sealed in the fridge.
Some bonus tips: This is a wonderful process that takes hours so plan to stay home and bake something or make soup. We have done this on our wood stove at our old house with great success. Get gallons of apple cider when it’s fresh, remove some volume and freeze it in the jug to boil down in the winter because you will want to make more.